Summer of Cinema


By Ritu Ragavendhra & Angela Tao

Graphic by Adrienne Lirio

Blockbusters are back, baby! Grab some popcorn, a soda and your favorite candy and enjoy this recap of the summer’s biggest movies!

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning — Part One

With many action-packed movies making their way to the big screen, the beloved spy of “Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” is reprising his role; Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt in the two-part espionage. The film follows Hunt on the run after he was framed for the murder of his former teammate in Impossible Mission Force and accused of selling secrets to the government. 

With AI that feels topical, the stunts in this new installment were so daunting and exciting that even Taylor Swift couldn’t imagine it in her “Wildest Dreams.” A perfect blend of suspense and action, this blockbuster will keep you glued to the edge of your seat at all times and might even make you forget about your snacks entirely. 

With twists and turns leading down dark alleys and wild car chases, the secrets and mysteries leave us wanting more and tempt us to return next summer for the sequel.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Another addition to a well-beloved franchise is “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” in which Harrison Ford reprises his role as the titular character. For over two and a half hours, our old friend of 42 years helps defend the college he teaches at against the Nazis and prevent them from stealing a mysterious dial.

To be frank, this movie was quite boring. Watching it makes you wonder whether all of the action was actually necessary, or if it was trivially inserted to fill the action scene quota required for an Indiana Jones movie. 

I encourage you to order a bucket of popcorn and a packet of candy; at times, food may be the only thing keeping you in the theater. “Dial of Destiny” just doesn’t have the essence of the original three films (we aren’t talking about “Crystal Skull”); it seemed like just a generic and geriatric action film.

Asteroid City

Action might seem like the theme of this past summer, but “Asteroid City” took on the comedy and drama sides of cinema. With the background set in a retro-futuristic 1950s, this movie was the epitome of a Wes Anderson film.

This movie was perfect on paper with the phenomenal set design, talented actors and beautifully shot scenes, but the story itself was rather confusing. This was in part due to “Asteroid City” having so many layers — the narrative being told as an in-world play was already boggling, but the onion only got thicker with the choppy timeline and colorless shots scattered through. 

All the random flicks did add to the artful cinematography; however, it meant that the storyboard was compromised. But the esoterica does have its own beauty. Anderson’s films are undoubtedly gorgeous — the costume and set designs alone had a unique, almost dystopian aura. There was an existential realization in this production, built up to by numerous symbols, character monologues and the beautifully written end of the film. 

This film explores a scary epiphany so deep it rattles you to the core — that human existence is insignificant in the infinite universe, but at the same time, is all we’ve ever known. You can’t appreciate this film without accepting this truth. 


The biggest cinema-related kicker this summer was undeniably “Barbenheimer” – not another case of twin films, but rather, a time when opposites attracted. Both having been released on July 21, the dichotomy was taken by storm online. 


“Barbie,” a movie chronicling the eponymous beloved doll in an utterly female utopia, was contrasted with “Oppenheimer,” a historical film set during World War II. Whichever you may have chosen to watch first, both productions lived up to their hype in their own right — and together.

Even if you live under a rock, you couldn’t have missed the marketing for “Barbie.” With everyone and their mothers being in the Barbie era again, the excitement for this iconic production was palpable all throughout July. 

The movie follows Barbie and Ken’s departure from the perfect “Barbieland” and their entrance into the real world. The filmmakers’ attention to detail was incredibly clear — in costume design, Margot Robbie sported the classic high-heel feet; in set design, the Barbie Dreamhouse was paradisical and dreamlike. 

Twitter may have doubted Ryan Gosling’s abilities to play Ken, but he shot down every ounce of apprehension. Perhaps “he’s just Ken”, but Gosling was a flawless one. Additionally, one may not have thought that a film where most of the characters are named either “Barbie” or “Ken” would make sense at all; however, this film that started with an almost parody-comedic air built up to something raw and real. 

There were laughs and cries; there was a utopia and a reality. Just as we grew from rosy days of pink heels and happy play to the rough tides of adolescence (and too soon, adulthood), Barbie left her perfect fantasyland for a world both broken and healing. 


“Oppenheimer” was equally brilliant, though in different ways. While “Barbie” was a display of growth from utopia to reality, “Oppenheimer” dealt with the inherent struggles of inventing, which were painfully complicated by politics and morality. 

In this historical production, theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer is tasked with engineering an atomic bomb in the top-secret Manhattan Project. With dramatic sequences and a rollercoaster of a story, this film was gripping for all 180 minutes.

The flicking between the process of building the infamous bomb and the following attempts to incriminate Oppenheimer made an intense ping-pong match of a story. You might want to drag a friend or two to watch the movie with — the historical references, time skipping and course of narrative can be so confusing you may need a debriefing session after the film.

Throughout the movie as the project progresses, Oppenheimer juggles his duty and his morality — on one hand, the U.S. would be in grave danger if they didn’t defeat the Nazis, but on the other, humanity was never meant to wield such a weapon of destruction. 

Long journeys to the goal and the stomach-drop-inducing effects (both good and bad) of such achievement were at the core of this film. This narrative was told marvelously through the advanced visual effects, sound buildups and scene shuffling — it was a story so horrific, yet so beautiful.

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